Russell provides plenty of run
GEELONG Falcons Region Manager Mick Turner describes Sam Russell as “super quick” – an accolade that bemuses the Geelong College student.
Perhaps it is the fact that his family is heavily involved in athletics and during the off season Russell also immerses himself in it in a bid to ramp up his fitness that he thinks earned him such a moniker.
Modesty aside, Russell admits that his leg speed and endurance are assets he tries to use to his advantage.
“All the family really enjoys athletics so I do it for my football fitness,” Russell said.
Russell can’t remember his personal best for 100 metres, but he once ran a ‘high’ 23-second 200 metres.
“I’m more of a 400 to 800 metre runner,” Russell said.
Although he’s played in Geelong College’s first XVIII since he was in Year 9, Russell injured ankle ligaments in his first game of the 2012 APS season and missed 12 weeks.
“I made a real meal of it,” Russell said.
Russell didn’t break into the Falcon’s team until just before the end of the home and away season.
“I was lucky enough to get a game and I was given a job on a small, key forward and the coaching staff were happy so I got a game the next week and then the week after,” he said.
Russell was included in both of Geelong’s finals games, an experience he described as an invaluable learning curve.
With that experience behind him, Russell worked hard during pre-season to ensure he played with Geelong from the start of this season.
Not only did he gain selection, but he was given the five TAC Cup Coaches award votes as the Falcons defeated Murray Bushrangers by 18-points.
Russell’s ability to get to a contest, run, carry, link-up and break the lines is a feature of his game.
“I just tried to go out there and do my job – shut down my opponent and work as a member of the back six,” Russell said.
“I was happy enough with it as I thought I did my job fairly well, but I didn’t think I’d get any votes from the coaches.
“Now, I hope I can keep on doing it.”
Russell will miss a large chunk of the Falcons’ season – 10 games while he plays school football – but he’s looking forward to returning for the drive into the finals.
While he’s played on a wing with Geelong College, the Falcons have used him mainly in defence to exploit his leg speed.